Snowboarding Pioneer 

Despite celebrity status, Boise will always be home to this family man

He's been something of a wintertime Superman the past two decades, crisscrossing snow-covered hills the world over with a board strapped to his feet. Now he's content to simply play Super Dad.

And Super Dad is about to get some face time on the silver screen.

Boise's Nick Perata is a giant in the snowboarding industry, though you'd never know it by talking to the guy. In the mid-1980s, he was one of only a handful of people plunging down mountains on homemade boards and taking monthlong treks up into the mountains in order to find the best freeriding in the world.

He's now starred in eight movies about the sport and appeared on ABC and ESPN. He was running his own annual competition in Valdez, Alaska, when members of the film crew covering it from Transition Productions realized they were watching "the pinnacle of the sport," relates Perata, now 38.

Some four years later, Transition Productions asked him to participate in their action documentary about the history of snowboarding and a real-world, fraught-with-danger run down a middle-of-nowhere hill in Alaska by five of the biggest names in the sport.

He signed on, and the film is due out December 2. There's no word yet on an Idaho release date (though he's been assured it's definitely coming to Boise), but Perata is being flown out for a Hollywood-style premiere in New York City on December 1, and will attend peripheral publicity events, a meeting with film sponsor Pepsi's CEO and interviews on, among others programs, The Today Show.

First Descent, tagged as "The Story of the Snowboarding Revolution," covers the timeline "from breaking open barrels and standing on the wooden planks and going down the snow in the '30s and all that, to present day," Perata said.

It follows "what they were going through when they were making these boards in the '60s and '70s, all the way through me and my generation, which were really first-generation snowboarders."

The release of the film is exciting for Perata, though he admits his family and friends are more energized about tripping to the Big Apple.

In fact, for someone who spent the bulk of his young life as a snow bum, it's fascinating to note that the biggest highs he finds these days are spending time with his family.

No, he hasn't abandoned boarding--"When it's open and good, I'll go up [to Bogus Basin] two, three days a week"--but now his life is all about the wife and four kids.

He would love to see his children grow up to be professional snowboarders or golfers (golf is his other great passion) but for now, they aren't even allowed to board down a hill--that is, until they learn how to ski.

For the sake of learning all-important edge control, "I told them as soon as they can go anywhere on the hill on their skis then they can go with the full-time snowboard," Perata divulged.

When not working as a fishing guide in Alaska for four months over the summer, a typical day for Perata is dropping off his two eldest children (7 and 5 years old) at school, then returning home with his two youngest (2 years and 7 months old) to maintain the house and practice golf in the backyard. FYI, his 2-year-old has a killer swing.

He's traveled the world, snowboarding in Europe, New Zealand and South America and yet, he still calls Boise--and little ol' Bogus Basin Mountain Resort--home.

"Bogus is actually where I sharpened my skills enough to move on to bigger and better places ... Bogus has been the start for a lot of people--a lot of people who are still in the industry these days ... They will always come back to Boise. That's what I've noticed."

Perata has certainly always come back. From the time he first visited the city when he was only 13, he's loved it here, and he plans to stay for at least the next 20 years.

So what of Super Dad's resurgent celebrity status? Will he soon be too big for the valley?

"Celebrity? No, I'm just a dad, man," he said. "I love my kids. I'm my kids' hero."

And that is more than enough for this legend in the snowboarding world.

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